Saturday, December 24, 2016

Advent: Incarnate

Incarnate: from the Latin, meaning "to become flesh." This is what it's all about, isn't it? It's the rubber-meets-the-road moment of Christianity. At the heart of the faith is this crazy belief that inifinite God chose to become finite man -- not that he put on a human costume to walk around in, like some sort of "Edgar suit"; not that he was a spirit everyone thought was real; and not that he was some supernaturally gifted demigod like Heracles or Perseus.

Christian orthodoxy teaches that Jesus was fully human, tripping over his own feet when he didn't watch where he was going, forgetting what he was saying in the middle of his sentence when he was tired; getting irritable when he was hungry or tired; and whacking himself on the thumb from time to time when he was working with a hammer. He probably farted at embarrassing moments too.

Often we feel we are closest to God when we are astride the crest of the wave; faith teaches us that God is closest to us when the wave has pulled us under. In our weakness, our fraility, our humiliation God identifies with us and cloaks himself in our likeness. When God became flesh-and-bone he didn't walk the halls of power as the son of an emperor, but among the huts of peasants who worked with their hands. He didn't speak the Latin of Virgil or the refined Greek of Homer, but the Aramaic of nobody and the street Greek of everybody.  He could have been anybody, because the nobodies of the world are the people whom God treasures most.

Copyright © 2016 by David Learn. Used with permission.

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